Metro’s 2012 NBA Mock Draft

Anthony Davis and his unibrow should go No. 1 to New Orleans.

The No. 1 pick isn’t much of a mystery, but there is a lot of depth in an otherwise star-deprived draft. Metro breaks down the entire first round, but beware, there were 12 draft-day trades last year and likely to be a few Thursday night as well.

1. New Orleans Hornets — Anthony Davis, Center, Kentucky: This is obviously a no-brainer, as Davis wrested control of the consensus No. 1 pick by midway through his freshman season.
2. Charlotte Bobcats — Harrison Barnes, Forward, UNC: Makes sense on two different levels, as the explosive Barnes has been personally scouted by team owner – and fellow UNC alum Michael Jordan — during years of summer pickup runs together and Barnes also fills a huge need at the forward position. 

3. Washington Wizards – Bradley Beal, Guard, Florida: Beal may be the purest scorer in the draft. The 6-foot-4 Beal has been favorably compared to Ray Allen for his ability to shoot from anywhere, thanks to perfect shooting mechanics, and also put it on the floor. Beal and John Wall would be a formidable backcourt.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers — Thomas Robinson, Forward, Kansas: The Cavs will be thrilled Robinson fell to them, as the 6-foot-9 forward physically dominated opponents last year and is relentless around the hoop. 

5. Sacramento Kings — Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Forward, Kentucky: The 6-foot-7 Kidd-Gilchrist is extremely athletic and can guard multiple positions from bigger lead guards to smallish power forwards. The former UK star likens his versatile game to Scottie Pippen but needs to refine his shooting touch.    

6. Portland Trail Blazers — Andre Drummond, Center, UConn: There isn’t a bigger boom-or-bust player in the draft, as Drummond’s ceiling has been compared to Amar’e Stoudemire but also a bust in the name of fellow former Husky Hasheem Thabeet, who coincidentally is also on the Blazers’ roster.

7. Golden State Warriors — Dion Waiters, Guard, Syracuse: The Warriors need to get bigger in the backcourt and this solid combo-guard possesses great athleticism. The 6-foot-4 Waiters can play off the ball, but also has enough instincts to allow the smallish Stephen Curry to play his more familiar off-guard spot.  

8. Toronto Raptors — Austin Rivers, Guard, Duke: This may be a little high for many people’s liking but Rivers possesses the skill-set that team president and general manager Bryan Colangelo covets. Rivers, son of Celtics coach Doc, is a prolific scorer with unlimited range, above-average ball-handling skills, and a high basketball IQ. 
9. Detroit Pistons — John Henson, Forward, UNC: Although limited offensively, the extremely long Henson (6-foot-11) would finally give the Pistons a legit shot-blocking presence in the middle and help star Greg Monroe shift to his more customary power forward slot. 
10. New Orleans Hornets
— Kendall Marshall, Point Guard, UNC: Arguably the best “pure” point guard in the draft, Marshall would fill a void that was left behind following the Chris Paul trade. Marshall has no ego, runs an offense efficiently, and is used to massaging top-tier players as he led a star-studded Tar Heels squad.
11. Portland Trail Blazers — Damian Lillard, Point Guard, Weber State: He’s considered 1b after Marshall for best lead guard, as he’s a prolific scorer with a very good jumper. The 6-foot-3 Lillard is an aggressive playmaker who has no fear of attacking the rim. 

12. Houston Rockets — Meyers Leonard, Center, Illinois: He’s arguably the safest bet to have a long career of all the bigs in the draft, and the long and athletic Leonard would be a nice pick. Although a towering 7-foot-1 and 250 pounds, Leonard is extremely agile for his size.  

13. Phoenix Suns — Jeremy Lamb, Guard, UConn: Lamb is an explosive athlete with a crazy wingspan. He has great range out to the three-point line and explosive first step but will need to bulk up his wiry 6-foot-5, 190-pound frame. 

14. Milwaukee Bucks
— Tyler Zeller, Center, UNC: They flipped picks with Houston and Zeller isn’t a bad consolation, as he’s a smart player with a great low-post presence and feel for the game. He can help replace the post presence lost in Andrew Bogut.
15. Philadelphia 76ers — Terrence Jones, Forward, Kentucky: Jones is a solid all-around player with decent range and prototypical size (6-foot-9, 252 pounds). His size affords him to defend multiple frontcourt positions and his southpaw game should give others fits on offensive end.   

16. Houston Rockets — Terrence Ross, Forward, Washington: At 6-foot-7, he’s big enough to play either wing position. He has solid shooting form with a great first step and will offset the Chase Budinger trade to Minnesota. 

17. Dallas Mavericks — Perry Jones, Forward, Baylor: He could be what Lamar Odom wasn’t for the Mavs last season, as the 6-foot-11 Jones has the ability to play multiple forward spots, can handle the ball, and can score from almost anywhere on the floor.
18. Houston Rockets
— Jared Sullinger, Forward, Ohio State: Yes, there are red flags about his back but according to Sullinger’s camp — and his former coach Thad Matta — he’s fine and will be a durable, safe pick. Built in the mold of Elton Brand, it’d be a nice pickup for the Rockets.

19. Orlando Magic — Moe Harkless, Forward, St. John’s: He has great length and athleticism, at 6-foot-8, 207 pounds. Harkless also has solid footwork as a face-up offensive player and the quickness for the blow-by. 

20. Denver Nuggets — Evan Fournier, Guard, France: The first, and perhaps only, foreign-born player to be drafted in the first round, Fournier is a sneaky scorer in the mold of his childhood hero Manu Ginobili. Fournier is arguably the best Frenchman since Tony Parker and would fit George Karl’s uptempo scheme. 

21. Boston Celtics
— Royce White, Forward, Iowa State: A versatile attack-the-rim forward who is big and physical (6-foot-8, 270 pounds). White is also a good rebounder with great court awareness who’d fit into the Celtics’ rough defensive scheme.

22. Boston Celtics
— Fab Melo, Center, Syracuse: A true 7-foot center with prototypical length and size (7-foot-1, 260 pounds). He’s still raw offensively but is a supreme shot-blocker and rebounder who would help Kevin Garnett play his more traditional power forward spot. 
23. Atlanta Hawks
— Jeff Taylor, Forward, Vanderbilt: He’s a solid athlete with NBA size (6-foot-7, 215 pounds) and ability. Taylor is an instinctive defender and solid scorer from all over the floor, who would offer a nice substitution for Josh Smith. 

24. Cleveland Cavaliers — Arnett Moultrie, Center, Mississippi State: He’s a smooth power forward/center with solid size and length (6-foot-11, 240 pounds) who will fill out into a nice post presence. Moultrie is also a capable shooter all over the floor and extremely agile for his size.

25. Memphis Grizzlies
— Marquis Teague, Point Guard, Kentucky: Amazingly fast with a great first step, but some say almost too fast for his own good as he plays out of control at times. But when he’s on his game he can really penetrate and get deep into the paint.

26. Indiana Pacers — Will Barton, Guard, Memphis: He’s a solid scorer with decent NBA range. The long (6-foot-5) and athletic Barton is an aggressive, attacking player with a knack for scoring in bunches. He’d be a good offset to the possible departure of O.J. Mayo. 

27. Miami Heat
— Festus Ezeli, Center, Vanderbilt: The 6-foot-11, 260-pounder has prototypical NBA size and athleticism for a center. He has solid physical tools and can hold his own on both ends of the floor, which is a need of the undersized Heat. 
28. Oklahoma City Thunder
— Quincy Miller, Forward, Baylor: Miller is a wiry scorer with a tremendous wingspan for a 6-foot-10 forward. Although he’s slightly undersized at only 220 pounds, Miller is an effective defender from the perimeter.

29. Chicago Bulls — Doron Lamb, Guard, Kentucky: Known as the “other” Lamb in this draft, this UK product should not be slept on, as he can play multiple positions, including point guard in a pinch. The 6-foot-7 Lamb was considered the glue-guy for a UK team that played him virtually anywhere on the floor.  

30. Golden State Warriors — Tony Wroten, Jr., Guard, Washington: The crafty southpaw is an extremely athletic combo-guard who can run the point or play off the ball. He’s still raw but can run the floor, is great in transition and at changing directions.

Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter
@TBone8 for more NBA news and notes.


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